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What Willow Knew…
Rosalind and I made a new friend last month, and wow, did he (or she) teach us a thing or two about non-verbal communication.
We had heard there are feral, stray cats in Center Parcs at Longleat Forest – and we are not talking about the lions here – although we had never seen one.
On the second day of our holiday, Rosalind got the shock of her life when she saw a cat sitting just the other side of our glass patio door, staring at us. We slowly opened the door to say hi, only for Willow, as we subsequently named her (or him), to run away to the corner of our villa, turn around and watch us.
We put a small piece of chicken out.
The hungry cat, 10 yards away, was watching, a nice piece of chicken awaited him.
Why didn’t Willow come forward to enjoy the chicken?
We started to close the door and he moved towards it then we stopped (to see if we could get closer or take a photo without the glass) so he stopped,
so we closed the door a little more, then he advanced, then we halted – so did he.
This went on stopping and starting with us as we slid the door closed. It was a game of statues!
When it was fully closed, Willow ran over and ate the meat, watching us carefully throughout.
And so this went off and on for a week…
Willow chose when to arrive.
He would only eat when we had closed the door – it was perfectly clear what he wanted and what his terms were. And all of this through non verbal communication.
Rosalind and I realised how this cat survived. Willow went from villa to villa until finding some cat friendly people. However, he (she) could never fully trust any of them, so we all played the ultimate game of statues teaching us the power of actions over words.
And, if a stray cat can learn that, and obtain what he needs because he has to, just imagine how powerful action-led communication can be for us as humans.
Do this with a loved one, a work colleague or within your team – see if you can communicate with each other at a meeting, or for 10 minutes, or whenever, by body language, eye contact and signals alone.
With my love and best wishes to Willow, and to you all
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